BIG BANG, BIG BUCKS FOR BAND AT FIREWORKS STAND

Crosby High School Band Fundraiser

By David Taylor Managing Editor

For eight years, the Crosby High School Big Red Machine Marching Band has been operating the Top Dog Fireworks Warehouse at 106 Kennings Road, just behind the McDonalds near US 90. The experience has been both a learning experience for the students and a boon for the band’s bottom line.

The students operate the warehouse during the Christmas holidays leading up to New Year’s Eve and again in the summer for the Fourth of July season. With 15 seasons under their belt, they will need a good season to help with the incoming new students that will flood the band hall this fall.

“It always occurs during the holidays, so kids are out of school but also off all over the place,” said Head Band Director Kevin Knight. “Fortunately, this is built into our culture and we have wonderful students and parents that always show up to work their shifts.”

Students and parents typically volunteer to work four to six hour shifts during that two-week season. As the holiday nears and more customers are flooding the warehouse, more students come down to volunteer and help. It’s all hands-on deck as the big day approaches.

“We come down and work the same number of shifts really to just support the kids,” Knight said. They buy their own fireworks from the students, and they love seeing them there to help out selling the products and running the registers.

“I’m thankful for our band officers who fully coordinate the operational side. They are skilled at this and could write a book alongside the booster club,” Knight said.

He said there were three things that he liked about the fundraiser.

“First of all, it’s a good product so we don’t mind putting our name behind it and we have repeat clients who come back here every year because they know they’re getting good products and they’re supporting the band,” the director said.

Secondly, it is their biggest fundraiser of the year and the money is used to supplement numerous things throughout the school year.

“Plus, it’s a good support mechanism for the kids from college and career readiness to giving them that job experience allowing them to bond and maybe make a new friend that they wouldn’t perhaps from a different section in the band. It’s really just a win win in every way for us,” he said.

The BRM will need the additional funds this fall when they add a good bunch of new students, approximately 20 to the marching band.

“That’s a couple of more lines on the field and in the bleachers and maybe another one or two on each of the instruments. It really makes a difference to the sound of the band,” he said.

Without seeing enrollment for the fall just yet, he’s estimating about 50 new students in the fall, and about 40 percent of those will join the marching band.

While the district pays a good bit of the expenses for the band, Knight gives students additional experiences that other bands don’t provide.

“With the help of the fundraiser, we are able to offer them educational opportunities they wouldn’t be able to have any other way,” he said.

In previous years, that meant paying for transportation for trips to hear the Houston Symphony, to Beaumont to hear the Lamar University band, or down I-45 to the University of Houston campus to hear the Cougar Band perform. The funds also defray costs for clinicians who come in to work with the bands before University Interscholastic League competitions, concert prep, and accompanists for contest.

“It also helps pay for meals for the kids, snacks and drinks in the bleachers, and much more,” he said.

When the community buys the fireworks, Top Dog splits profits with the organization to help them fundraise.

“I’m extremely grateful for the support of a community that loves and provides for its Fine Arts programs,” Knight said. “This is just supplemental for education enrichment.”

Last year the band also attended a concert by the U.S. Navy Band. In July, he will take them on a motivational trip to Prairie View A&M to watch a DCI (Drum Corps International) marching contest.

“Top Dog is offering a significant discount for opening week of the season with its Freedom Ultra Mega sale with 25 percent off all fireworks through June 30,” said Sue Davis, spokesperson for Top Dog.

“Many 500-gram cakes, swords and 4 and 6-pack roman candles will be buy one/get one free while supplies last. Shoppers can also get a free 500-gram cake for every $250 spent,” she said.

Top Dog has contributed over $3 million to community organizations through their work at its stores.

Summer band will be starting soon after the July 4 fundraiser and Knight said they are hoping for a great fundraising season. The community is invited to visit the warehouse and meet the students and directors.

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